Monday afternoon millions of people throughout the country looked to the sky to bear witness to a phenomenon taking place far from our world. This total solar eclipse may have been obstructed by clouds in many places in WNY, but it did leave an event to remember regardless. The light dimming before our very eyes until total darkness was an interesting experience, as was the speedy return of the light. This event was short and surreal, and while everyone was straining their eyes and necks looking up at the sky, some of us noticed some changes in the wildlife. The replication of dusk, nighttime, and dawn in quick succession resulted in some interesting observations. These anecdotal experiences from those in the Earth Spirit circle show that us humans may not have been the only ones modifying our behavior due to this celestial event.

When total darkness occurred around 3:18pm, I noticed a significant increase in the vocalizations of spring peepers. While this small tree frog does call during the day, they call much more frequently at night, and I can’t help but think the darkness caused by the moons shadow contributed to this increase. My brother was watching the eclipse in a field that he was sharing with wild turkeys. When it got dark, the turkeys flew to the trees, perhaps preparing to roost for the “night.” Or maybe, they just wanted a sense of security from the fear brought to them by the spontaneous darkness. All we can do is speculate, but it sure is peculiar. I tried to see if the resident depew beavers would begin their usual nocturnal activities, but I observed no such thing. I think that these beavers, asleep in their bank dens, were completely unaware of the dramatic change taking place outside.

Perhaps the most memorable encounter was from a friend of Earth Spirit, who heard a common loon vocalize on the Niagara River just a few minutes before totality. The haunting call of a loon on WNY’s mightiest river during a total solar eclipse sounds like something out of a dream.

The solar eclipse on April 8th, 2024 was a memorable event, and we would love to hear if anyone else had any peculiar wildlife observations. Please let us know in the comments below!

Recent Wildlife Sightings

Sandy

  • Spotted a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks and a Pileated Woodpecker at the Cabin.
  • Spent an afternoon with an Osprey during a fishing trip in Franklinville.
  • During eclipse, had 10 species of birds singing…. All went quiet while Spring Peepers began singing in the darkness.
  • Encountered my first butterfly of the season, a Red Admiral, on April 9.

Daniel

  • Barred Owl at JP Nicely Memorial Park
  • Breeding and calling American Toads in Depew, a true sign of spring
  • Black-Capped Chickadee checking out a nest box in Daniel’s yard

Jon

  • Red Fox and his den 
  • Nesting Red-tailed Hawks with potential hatched chicks

 

Total Solar Eclipse 2024

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